Cape Cod Vacation – My Picks

There are so many places to go and so many things to do in Cape Cod.

To help you plan your trip, here are my picks that I think would make a good Cape Cod experience……

If going with kids, these places are free to go…

Hope you would enjoy Cape Cod as much as we do 🙂

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Cape Cod Vacation – Chatham, Eastham, Wellfleet, Provincetown

Cape Cod vacation continues…

Chatham

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Chatham is one of the wealthiest towns in Cape Cod. It is also the best place to see seals in the Cape.

 

After seals watching, you can drive to Chatham Lighthouse Beach. It has a nice view there with the lighthouse in the back.

 

Eastham

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2 of the 6 Cape Cod National Seashore beaches are in Eastham.

  • Coast Guard Beach
  • Nauset Light Beach

August 25 is the National Park Birthday, so the entrance fee is waived on that day

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First we drove to the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center in Wellfleet. Then we planned to check out Coast Guard Beach. Unfortunately, the parking lot was FULL. So we drove down to Nauset Light Beach. From there, you can see the Nauset Lighthouse, which is also the logo of Cape Cod Potato Chips!

 

 

  • Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar

This is a super popular seafood place. If you are in the area, you should check out this place.

 

Wellfleet

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  • Wellfleet Drive-in Theater

It is just fun to be in a drive-in theater. It is old school, but a great experience! You pay one price for 2 movies too! Be sure to check their movie schedules on their website. It is not the same every day.

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Got some seafood for dinner from Arnold’s

 

  • Laura & Tony’s Kitchen

This is not an ordinary breakfast buffet place. Food is made fresh and prepared in small batches. I wanted to try this place but then we did not end up staying overnight to have a breakfast on that trip.

 

Provincetown

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Provincetown is also called Ptown, which is an hour drive from Hyannis. It is a popular gay & lesbian tourist destination 🙂 Everyone is so friendly and cheerful there. I really like the environment in this town. It is probably the second busiest town in Cape Cod after Hyannis. You can also take the ferry from Boston to Ptown.

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Cape Cod National Seashore beaches

  • Herring Cove Beach
  • Race Point Beach

To me, they are very typical Cape Cod beaches…. but I wouldn’t go all the way to Ptown to go to these beaches ^^” My favorite is still Old Silver Beach in Falmouth

Cape Cod Vacation- Yarmouth, Dennisport, Harwich

Cape Cod vacation continues…

Yarmouth

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What I like about Yarmouth is that there are more hotel choices along route 28, as they are cheaper yet still very close to Hyannis. So cheaper + good location. Thus, there are more shops and restaurants along the main road.

There are also a few beach-front hotels in South Yarmouth, as well as in Dennisport. I highly recommend considering it as an option when you plan a trip to Cape Cod.

Beach-front hotels 

pros:

  • save the entrance fee of going to a beach
  • save time driving to a beach, and sometimes wait for a parking spot
  • no need to bring beach chairs and carry towels or any beach gears from the car to the beach. Usually the hotel provide beach chairs
  • if you or your kids get wet from playing in the water, you can just simply walk back to your hotel room to shower, instead of getting your car wet and sandy 🙂
  • overall very convenient!!!

cons:

  • more pricey

 

Things to do

  • Seagull Beach

Seagull beach is the most popular beach in Yarmouth. If you stay in Yarmouth, you probably will go to this beach. It is a classic Cape Cod beach. $15 daily fee for non-resident.

 

 

  • Gray’s (Bass hole) Beach

Free parking all year round (hope it’s still the same this year as we speak). It is a bay side beach (facing north). The beach is small with shallow water. You can find little crabs and fishes in the water too. Many people come here to kayak. There is a boat ramp next to the beach where you can watch boats coming and go. It is also a great place to see sunset with a long boardwalk over some salt marsh. The downside of being so close to the marsh and the trees is that there are more mosquitos in the area compared to other beaches in the Cape.

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  • Christmas Tree Shop

There are two Christmas Tree Shops on route 28, one in Yarmouth and one in Dennis. I love shopping there as they have a lot of Cape Cod-themed goodies, such as some beach-themed wall art, kitchen stuffs, seashells. You would want to bring home some of these to remind you of your Cape Cod vacation 🙂

 

 

Places to eat

Since we always go to Hyannis for food, we seldom eat in Yarmouth… ^^”

  • Cape Cod Creamery

homemade icecream! You will see many people sitting on these lawn chairs outside of the icecream shop when you drive on Route 28.

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  • Keltic Kitchen

Good place for breakfast. It is quite busy though.

 

Dennisport

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I discovered this town when I was looking for a hotel with private beach. The ones in Yarmouth were out of my budget, but then I found a nice one here in Dennisport – Colony Beach Motel. I highly recommend staying at a beach-front hotel if it is within your budget.

This time was our first wedding anniversary trip. After moving out from home for a year, I realized why people just want to relax and do nothing while on vacation :p Without the hassle of driving to a beach, a hotel with a private beach is so so so convenient that you don’t really need to go anywhere but relax! 😀

We drove around the area and saw some condos with private beach too 🙂

 

The year before the stay at this hotel, we actually came across this beach in the northern part of Dennis (facing north/bayside), where mainly local residents go, as there is no public parking. It was where D found the perfect place to propose 😀

 

Things to do

  • Scargo Tower

It is a small stone tower where you can climb up and see the view of the bay and Provincetown on a nice day. Nice view but not spectacular. You don’t need to make a trip there unless you are around the area.

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Places to eat

  • Ocean House Restaurant

We were very lucky to have a very good reviewed restaurant next to our hotel. We could just walk over there through the beach. Food was good, so was the ambience of the restaurant. It would be nice to seat by the large windows overlooking the ocean.

  • The Oyster Company

Good seafood in a cute Cape-Cod style house. It’s a good place to go if you don’t wanna go outside Dennis.

 

Harwich

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Harwich is next to Dennisport. While we stayed in Dennisport, we just drove around to check out other neighborhoods. There is a nice main street to stroll around in Harwich. We walked by a yard sale, which is everywhere in Cape Cod. I found a nice leather bag still with tag for $1. So do stop by some yard sale in the Cape when you see them. You never know what goodies you would find 🙂

 

  • Pleasant Road Beach

We also found this beach when we explored the town. It looks like the beaches in Harwich requires beach sticker.

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  • Cape Cod Lavender Farm

There is a small lavender farm in a quiet neighorhood in Harwich. We did not go there as it was not the blooming season. It might be interesting to visit when it is blooming.

 

 

 

Cape Cod Vacation – Hyannis

Cape Cod vacation continues…

Hyannis

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Hyannis is in mid-Cape. I would consider it the main town in Cape Cod. There are buses going to Hyannis from South Station, Boston. From the bus stop, you can walk 10 min to the ferry terminal to take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Things to do

  • Veterans Park Beach

This is a park where you can picnic or barbeque by the beach. You can see the ferry coming in and out from there. The water was warm enough to be in it. But there is a yacht club next to the beach and also the ferry so close by, so there is some traffic in the water that you better not go too far out. There’s an entrance fee during beach hours.

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  • Kalmus Beach

It is just around the corner of Veterans Park Beach. It shares similar view as the Veterans Park Beach. But at its farthest point, you can get really close when an island ferry passes by. It does get a bit quiet after the beach hour.

 

  • Bayview Beach

A small beach with free parking. Close to the busy area in Hyannis. You can watch the boats going in and out of the harbor. Other than these, it is just a small, but convenient beach.

 

 

  • Main Street in Hyannis

There are many interesting shops and restaurants on Main Street. It is touristy but vibrant. I love walking on Main Street every time I go to Hyannis. Everyone there is vacationing and it makes it really cheerful and enjoyable to just stroll around the street.

 

  • Cape Cod Potato Chips Free Tour

They provide a free, self guided tour in the factory. You can spend as much time as you want, but it will probably just take you half an hour for the whole stay. At the end of the tour, there is a small shop where you can buy different flavors of Cape Cod chips. It is nice to go there during the hottest time of the day as it has A.C. 🙂

 

  • Cape Codder Resort & Spa

We stayed here once with a group of friends in a suite room with a jacuzzi. This hotel has an indoor wave pool like a little water park. It would be a nice place to stay with kids, especially during winter time when you don’t want to go outside.

 

Places to eat

  • Brazilian Grill

Food was absolutely delicious! It became our must go place every time we go down to the Cape. I especially like their grilled sirloin! It was very flavorful and tender. I also like their brazilian food section. Love their cheese balls and fried plantain!!! This place is always packed. I suggest making reservation. I would recommend going there for lunch on weekdays as it is cheaper but still a large selection. It’s a buffet but you can also get it take out in a box for a flat rate.

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A cute french bakery in day time and a cozy and romantic bistro in night time. They have indoor and outdoor seatings. Lunch sandwiches were very good, so was the food at dinner.  At night, it is a totally different ambience. We love sitting outside at night feeling the summer breeze. They actually offered us loafs of bread to take home after dinner. A very nice gesture.

 

*** These 2 restaruants are the ones that we would definitely go back when we go to the Cape.***

 

  • Bangkok Kitchen

Their thai food was not as good as those in Boston, but it is ok to go if you crave for asian food.

 

 

Cape Cod Vacation – Sandwich, Falmouth

Over these years living in Boston, I could not count how many times I have been to the Cape, either a day trip or a short staycation, with a group of friends or as a couple. To me, Cape Cod is like Cheung Chau (長洲) or Lamma Island (南丫島) in Hong Kong, where you can get away from the city and be closer to the nature, and most importantly to relax from the busy city life, yet it’s still close to home and does not break the bank.

One of my life dreams is to have a vacation home in the Cape. It was a distant dream because I did not think that I could do it all by myself. After I met D, now my husband, it became one of our life goals. It started when we went to the Cape together for the first time for his friend’s wedding. He asked me how come we never thought of doing a trip in the Cape. I told him I suggested it before but he never really responded to my question =.= Since then we go to the Cape every summer. He also liked the idea of having a vacation home. So every year, I tried to plan to stay in a different town to see if it can be potentially the location of our future vacation home 😀

Since I have been there so many times, here I’m trying to put together what to do or where to eat, or what I think about each town. These are all solely my own experience. There would be places or restaurants that are good that I don’t know of. So I can only recommend what I have done or have researched, so that my friends can plan their trips with some help and with my personal experience.

 

First, about the beaches in Cape Cod……

There is no free parking! Most of the beaches in Cape Cod require you to pay an entrance fee. They also have daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal passes. Prices and rules are different in each town. Some of the beaches have “beach hours”, and you can park in the lot for free outside the beach hours. To take advantage of it, I like to go to the Old Silver Beach in Falmouth after 5pm to see the sunset 🙂

August 25 is National Park Service Birthday, so entrance fee is waived at 6 of the national seashore beaches.

Here you can find some free parking beaches in the Cape.

http://www.affordable-cape-cod-vacations.com/free-beach-parking-cape-cod.html

 

***IMPORTANT***

Warm water beaches are the ones facing south/Nantucket Sound, including the ones in Falmouth.

Beaches facing north have freezing cold water!

I always avoid going to the ones facing north!

 

Buzzards Bay

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It is a good stopping point before crossing the bridges to the Cape. We went there a few times either for fishing or just to watch the boats going by on the Cape Cod Canal. It is nice to take a stroll along the paved bike path with a view of the gorgeous Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge. There is also public bathroom if there is too much traffic crossing the Sagamore Bridge :p

 

Sandwich

Sandwich is probaly the first town that you pass by after crossing the Sagamore Bridge. We have stayed there once. What I like about staying in Sandwich is that it is relatively closer to Boston, thus a shorter drive. It still has what Cape Cod has offered, like the sereneness and the beaches, yet you don’t have to drive 30min or 15 miles more to Hyannis, especially traffic is bad during summer.

That time that we stayed in Sandwich was because I wanted to visit Falmouth, and it was still easy to drive to Hyannis for more actions and restaurants.

Things to do

Sandwich has Broadwalk Beach and near the border of Barnstable has Sandy Neck Beach. Both require entrance fee. We went to Sandy Neck Beach once. Water was freezing cold though, and the beach was a bit rocky.

 

  • Sandwich Fish Hatchery

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/about-masswildlife/state-fish-hatcheries.html

They have different kinds and sizes of trouts. Bring quarters so you can buy some fish pellets to feed the fishes. Kids would love it!

 

Places to eat

  • Cafe Chew

It is a nice cafe in a plaza where there is outdoor seating. The sandwiches were pretty good. We had the best pancake there for breakfast. So buttery yet so fluffy! Highly recommend this place! There we saw an old lady reading her book. We overheard that she retired and lived in Sandwich, and she came to this cafe for breakfast every morning. D felt that it’s kinda like a dream retirement….

It is an average seafood place. I just like their outdoor seating deck a lot as it is overlooking the Cape Cod Canal. It feels very relaxing while you enjoy your meal with sea breeze brushing your face.

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Falmouth

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Falmouth is not close to the main highway. It is 40mins drive to Hyannis. So if you want to explore other parts of the Cape, I don’t recommend staying in Falmouth. However, Falmouth has the best beach (to me)!

Things to do

My favorite beach in the Cape is in Falmouth! I loveeee Old Silver Beach. It has really fine sand and warm water. It faces west so it is a good place to see sunset. Every time people ask me which beach to go in Cape Cod,  I alway tell them Old Silver Beach it is! No entrance fee after 5pm. There is a hotel right on the beach which has their own private section of Old Silver Beach. It has a really nice location but of course it is pricey.

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  • Woods Hole Science Aquarium

http://aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov/

It is an excellent place for kids to learn about sea life in Cape Cod area. They have a touch tank and also twice a day, they feed the seals in an outdoor area in the aquarium. Admission is free and donation is accepted.

 

 

  • Nobska Point Lighthouse

Picturesque and nice view of the ocean on a clear day.

 

Place to eat

  • Pie In The Sky – nice bakery to stop by to have some coffee or snack.

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Boston Summer Restaurant Week at Upstairs on the Square

i always wanted to try this place in Harvard Square. cos they are always fully booked.

the weather was really comfortable so we sat outside. I didn’t get to check out their 2 dining rooms. but i know it’s a good place for an afternoon tea or a bridal shower cos of their decors.

D …. the photographer!

their restaurant week menus were chosen from Julia Child’s cookbook in celebration of her 100 birthday!

Cold Cucumber Soup – Shrimp à la Grecque

Steamers with Beurre de Crustacés

the steamers were perfectly cooked but D was complaining about the sand….

Lemon Sole – Lobster SoubiseWild Spearmint Roast Leg of Lamb

this lamb was very good! we really liked this dish!turned out the desserts we ordered were both very good. it was too dark outside to take pictures.

we had the walnut gateau and mousseline au chocolat. both were wonderful!!!

Boston Summer Restaurant Week at Fugakyu

since my sister birthday was around restaurant week, so we [I] picked Fugakyu for dinner with Henry & Shelly cos we were all sushi lovers…. mind as well try their restaurant week menu :] plus it’s D’s first time to eat at Fugakyu

appetizers

Salmon Kinuta

Dashi Marinated Tomatoentre

Entrees

their presentations were really good. but the fish wasn’t that great.

OmakaseDashi Sushi Set … brown rice sushiPan-seared King Crab Cake with Mushroom Risotto

we bet no one ordered this because the manager came and asked Shelly how it was cooked and if it was dry and any opinons… the waitress came to ask too after the managerLychee Mochi Ice Cream … i like mochi ice cream to be chewy… but this one was not… so i switched with D… i like his creme brulee better ^^Green Tea Crème Brulee overall it was just ok…

i wouldn’t come back to Fugakyu for restaurant week.

Girls’ Night at Pikaichi Ramen

on a wednesday night, we were gonna check out the “public open night at the observatory” at Boston University for some star gazing… but too bad, it was canceled cos of overcast night sky…

http://www.bu.edu/astronomy/events/public-open-night-at-the-observatory/

we picked this ramen place cos it’s close to the observatory and easy to park in the 88 supermarket place

it’s my second time there, but i like the rice better than the ramen. they have the rice plates like curry rice or don like at Cafe Mami at Porter Exchange. i just hope that they have green tea smoothie too :]

the japanese lady who served us was very polite and smiled all the time! i can’t wait to go to Japan this winter!!!

Fried octopus balls

Tonkatsu curry rice… free refill of rice

cherie’s Yakidon

after dinner, we went to Japonaise Bakery across the street for desserts and more chitchatting

the bakery was empty during these hours, so we had the whole bakery for ourselves xD

cherie got the ichigo cream and i got the azuki donut with red bean paste

i was skeptical about these sweet pastries but surprisingly it wasn’t very sweet, it’s perfect and very tasty!

Embargo Tapas Restaurant in Hyannis, Cape Cod

our last dinner in the Cape before heading back to Boston!

Embargo is on the Main Street in Hyannis. there’re just so many restaurants, n a lot of shops to walk around.

i picked this restaurant mostly for their Happy Hour deals! all tapas are half off and $1 oyster daily from 4:30pm to 6pm!

turned out only half of the food was good.

my white sangria was good! and the scallops was the best!!! the rice with it was so yummy!

the oysters and the kobe sliders were good. and all others… i wish i had never ordered them.

the chipotle mahi mahi taco was soooo salty that it was not edible. even though by that time we were all full.

they have live jazz starting from 6:30pm, so we ordered a creme brulee just so we could enjoy the music longer. the band was great, especially the pianist! he was so into his music!

             

         

         

         

after dinner, we were so full that we had to walk it off… and then i found a creperie cafe just a block from Embargo!! wish i had enough room for more dessert…  next time!

Old Silver Beach in Falmouth, Cape Cod

Old Silver Beach is my favorite beach in the New England!!!

a few years ago when my friends and i passed by this beach in an evening, we just couldn’t help but stopped by to walk on the beach.  it was a big surprise that the sand was so soft and fine, and the water was so calm and warm!! we were not ready for beach but we ended up dipping in the water in our shirts and shorts.

i was so looking forward to coming back to this beach. finally we did this time. the beach didn’t disappoint. the water was a little cold but still warmer than the other beaches in the Cape, because it’s in the Buzzard Bay. it was around 2:30pm and the parking lot was full, so we had to detour to grab some ice cream before coming back to check. parking was $20. they have a resident parking lot too, but still cars were waiting in line to get in.

gotta check the tide times. when it’s high tide, water can get as high as in this picture!